stuartjb posted:
Paul H posted:

I can't really think of TOE as a CH album because, well, it isn't. All bar four songs were recorded by Neil as a solo album, which was only badged as a CH record when he decided - post recording but pre-release - to reform the band. His choices were either to release the album but abandon it promo-wise, or call it a CH album and persuade the band to tour it.

But a CH album it ain't.

By that addage , Now We're getting Somewhere , Weather With You , and There Goes God aren't Crowded House songs.

And I'd agree. But you actually make my point: nobody thinks of Woodface as being a Finn Bros album because it contains a handful of their songs, and yet you're apparently quite happy to think of Time on Earth as a CH album when it only contains four songs recorded by the band. Woodface is a CH album because the vast majority of it was recorded by them with the intent of making their own album. 

How would you feel about the ownership of Woodface if - after CH had finished making it - Neil and Tim had decided to take those tracks, add a couple of their own recordings (that is, Weather With You and There Goes God) and issue it as a Finn Bros album?

stuartjb posted:

P.S. Nobody Wants to sounds TOTALLY like Crowded House ! I've always thought that it would  fit perfectly on Woodface - very much in the vein of FAYF or FSIOD

It's funny how we all hear the same thing differently, isn't it? I totally respect your view of it but I just don't share it: to me Nobody Wants To sounds like a solo Neil recording and nothing like CH. It has none of the swing they incorporated into so many songs. But then again, Fingers of Love and Together Alone sound nothing like CH either which harks back to my point about Neil's peculiar justification for splitting the band in the first place.

That's the crux of the issue and the whole point. Whilst you could never have CH without Neil, Neil by himself or even Neil with Nick and some very talented session players don't equal CH.

Everybody here loves and respects Neil and his music. Again, that's not the issue. Who are any of us to think differently? Ummmm. Fans, on a message board forum. Nobody said you had to agree👍.

Paul H posted:
stuartjb posted:
Paul H posted:

I can't really think of TOE as a CH album because, well, it isn't. All bar four songs were recorded by Neil as a solo album, which was only badged as a CH record when he decided - post recording but pre-release - to reform the band. His choices were either to release the album but abandon it promo-wise, or call it a CH album and persuade the band to tour it.

But a CH album it ain't.

By that addage , Now We're getting Somewhere , Weather With You , and There Goes God aren't Crowded House songs.

And I'd agree. But you actually make my point: nobody thinks of Woodface as being a Finn Bros album because it contains a handful of their songs, and yet you're apparently quite happy to think of Time on Earth as a CH album when it only contains four songs recorded by the band. Woodface is a CH album because the vast majority of it was recorded by them with the intent of making their own album. 

How would you feel about the ownership of Woodface if - after CH had finished making it - Neil and Tim had decided to take those tracks, add a couple of their own recordings (that is, Weather With You and There Goes God) and issue it as a Finn Bros album?

I don’t think I do make your point . The whole of TOE has Neil and Nick on it . Only Mark is missing to an extent , because Matt hadn’t been appointed when the bulk TOE was made . 

Dont get your woodface argument to be honest . Not sure the spilt in terms of musicians , but there’s a few pre Tim tracks and a few post Tim tracks . The decision to make it CH OR Finn Bros would have been equally valid , as was the decision to make TOE Crowded House . 

To my understanding , only TOLM , Together Alone and Intriguer are constructed with a “ Full Crowded House “ line up ( and they all had augmentations - Tim , Richard Thomson , Don Mclashan ) 

just my opinion , but I can’t see the the point of the argument .

slowpogo posted:

A lot of thoughtful debate here, but nobody can convince me that a fan's opinion on the matter is more correct than Neil Finn's.  If Neil says it's a Crowded House album, it is.  Full stop.  Who are any of us to say differently?

I feel that Neil called it a Crowded House album as a way to pay tribute to and grieve for Paul.

I feel that Neil called it a CH album because, having decided to reform the band, doing anything else would have made life very messy: what were his choices?

1) Ask the band to tour his SOLO album. Not likely.

2) Release the album with no tour and head straight back to the writing desk. A real shame for the material on TOE, really hard work for the songwriter and frustrating because it would delay actually working/touring with the band.

I remain unimpressed by any argument that he decided to consider a collection of songs as band songs because they sounded like the band. That's just disrespectful toward the band and it's history. Perhaps I'm just really sensitive to this because I lived through and adored CH Mk1. I'd be interested to know whether there's any correlation between the two opposing views and when each of us "came on board".

All I have left to say is that I respect those who are happy to call TOE a CH album. I just have a really hard time with it.

Interesting debate.

For me it highlighted some of the history of the origins of Neil’s recorded work vs. the personnel we got to see touring it because that’s a part of what we’re talking about where Time On Earth is concerned. The musicians who toured that album were Crowded House, that makes it a chapter in the Crowded House career for me regardless of exactly who recorded what on the album, the percentage of Crowded House members on any given song or the number of songs they performed on.

Post-Crowded House Mark 1 the cast of musicians who perform on virtually everything Neil has done have rarely been the same ones who perform the songs live on the resultant tour. It’s especially true of the rhythm section. Have a look - 

Try Whistling This featured several drummers. Sebastian Steinberg played bass on the bulk of the album, but not on any of the tour. Robert Moore played on bass in the touring band - he's only on one of the album tracks.

Similarly, One Nil wasn’t recorded with Sebastian Steinberg and Scott McPherson (or Shon Sullivan). JJ Johnson, Jim Keltner (who had a birthday yesterday) and Wendy Melvoin played drums.
Neil and Wendy shared bass duties - neither of them played bass or drums on the tour.

Everyone is Here was initially recorded with Ross Burge and Bones Hillman backing the Finn Brothers on drums and bass, not the Stacey brothers and Tim Smith.

Alana Skyring was recruited for Pajama Club for drumming duties to free up Neil to sing and play guitar on the tour dates, she didn’t drum on the album.

The Dizzy Heights touring band were formed shortly before the tour and had no involvement in the recording of the album that I’m aware of.

So focusing on the Time On Earth album -  Joey Waronker, Ethan Johns and Rikki Gooch on drums for the bulk of the record. In that respect Time On Earth is entirely consistent with how Neil has operated after Crowded House broke up: record the songs with collaborators, focus on how it will be toured and who the musicians will be on that tour - essentially how it’s ultimately presented to the public - afterwards.
So the big exception is that Nick Seymour played bass on the recordings AND the tour and he was a long-term Crowded House bandmate. Neil and Nick on stage touring a record with some songs inspired by Paul’s passing was always going to evoke Crowded House, so Time On Earth’s identity as a Crowded House album has always made complete sense to me. Plus you just know if Neil did tour those songs solo with Nick on bass with some Crowded House songs in the set every night, there'd be fans questioning why he couldn't just get Mark Hart and Peter Jones back on board and tour as Crowded House - there was no winning there.

I saw Neil unveil many of those Tine On Earth songs for the first time at Largo in late 2006 before we were aware he’d decided to reform Crowded House, assuming it was a preview of a third solo album. But as soon as he brought Mark Hart back on board and recruited Matt Sherrod as a member of Crowded House, Time On Earth was a Crowded House album.

I respect that for some Time On Earth’s identity as a Crowded House is a sticking point and it’s objectionable because all of the band members didn’t play of all of the tracks, but start reading your liner notes because the Crowded House debut album and Woodface must be equally objectionable by that standard, and as highlighted above this is how things have been done since 1996.

It’s coincidentally come full circle in a way because when Neil was announced as a member of Fleetwood Mac, there was a vocal “no Lindsey, no Fleetwood Mac, cover band” contingent blissfully ignoring the many incarnations of the band both before and also during Lindsey’s membership of the band.

I just think if you require a calculator to gauge how authentic/valid a record is, you're overthinking it and making it harder to fully appreciate.

The choices of who to work with in the studio are much different than who to work with live. Ligature’s point about Neil “presenting” a record live with usually scant relationship to the people who record it is spot on and not unique to Neil. McCartney’s band hardly plays on his albums, Noel Gallagher’s band doesn’t play on his either (even though Jeremy Stacey stopped touring with Noel, he still does his studio drumming), similarly with Bob Seger and countless others.

The pattern always sort of makes me laugh, particularly if someone has a hot live band - inevitably you see the tour and think “now why didn’t they record it with these people?!” But the studio process is mysterious, and the people you want around you while you’re grasping around for sounds and songs have a wholly different set of requirements than those you want to traipse around the world with.

 

 

For me, the differences are that those examples quoted were for solo albums. Who he works with is vs who he tours with is of limited interest. However, if I'm buying a record by Crowded House, I expect Crowded House to have recorded that record. I'm not bothered by the odd instance of "outside help" and I don't expect the band to have played on every song. Never said I was.

The issue isn't one of "how many band members played on each song". It's about the intent. As I noted above, Beautiful Night has more Beatles on it than Yesterday but no one (no, not even me) would consider it a Beatles record because it wasn't recorded to be a Beatles record and the two Beatles who are on it performed in their capacity as solo artists not members of that band.

This is also the case with TOE. It was recorded by Neil as a solo artist with Nick playing bass as a session man/collaborator but neither felt they were acting as members of CH and there was no intent to make a CH record.

I don't think anyone here would describe any of the line ups that recorded the core of Time on Earth (that is, the songs that were recorded before the band reformed) as being Crowded House. Of course, where one draws the line is subjective and I understand why anything with the core of Finn/Seymour would be acceptable as CH to some.

It raises the question of what constitutes a band: for my money (and I suspect, Neil's) the heart and soul of CH was lost when Paul quit in 94. Personally, I was prepared to accept that a band comprising Neil, Nick and Mark could legitimately continue as CH and, I guess, if Mark had bailed at some point and Neil had recruited again, it still would have been CH. But would an act comprising Neil and Nick with random session players coming and going have been CH? Personally, I'd have said no.

All I can reiterate is that I have a hard time accepting an album that was recorded by Neil as a solo album being considered a band album. It just seems disrespectful to the idea of CH as a band. It basically suggests that Neil could work with whoever he wanted to and call the resulting album a CH album. 

Clearly, I'm too emotionally attached to the idea of the band.

Actually, I don't think Paul played any drums on the Together Alone title track. All session players!

This is always going to be a gray area that can be endlessly debated. I accept that Neil and Nick started recording Time On Earth together with sessions players and at some point decided that what they were creating sounded more to them like a Crowded House record than a Neil Finn solo album. 

But Paul H's comment that it is intention that matters and not who is on the record means that the very first Crowded House album may not be a Crowded House album. Similar to TOE, when Neil set out to record Crowded House, he was not aiming to make a band album. That's why it was deemed acceptable to use a different drummer and bass player on "Now We're Getting Somewhere". Only after the album was recorded did Neil and company decide that it sounded like a band album and should be released under a band name. Then they just took the name of the album and made it the band name.

I think at this point it's clear that the only real Crowded House album is Temple of Low Men. Neil, Nick and Paul road tested the songs, played on all of them in the studio and then played them on tour. The rest of the albums are a mix of solo and Finn Brothers projects or different bands using the Crowded House name.

Tim sang on TOLM and he wasn’t in the band then , and Richard Thompson was on guitar , so it’s not a “ real “ crowded house album either ..... 

nick and Neil are on all of TOE . Mark is on some of it , and they got a new drummer towards the end of the sessions . It’s definatley Crowded House , and what’s more - it says so on the album cover .

One more example of a band with no stable lineup is the very prolific Guided by Voices. It’s understood the “band” is really just Robert Pollard and whoever he chooses to surround himself with at the time. But even if he writes all the songs, he still fleshes them out into band arrangements with other people, and it’s definitely rock band music (apart from his occasional solo numbers).  I think his touring lineup has been a bit more stable but in general, good luck forming any coherent concept of “core membership” for that band beyond Pollard.

BUT, nobody ever argues with the branding.  Nobody’s saying, “Is that really a GBV album?” Which gets back to my earlier point, that an artist gets to define themself. They don’t need our input.

I don’t know much about Guided By Voices, and am okay with saying Robert Pollard and 3 guys named Joe could call themselves GBV and I would by okay with that.  Diehard GBV fans may disagree with me, but I have no opinion.

As far as Crowded House is concerned, I do have an opinion.  It is almost impossible for me to conceive of a Crowded House without Paul Hester.  I think he was integral to everything I love about the band.

I can begrudgingly accept Crowded House with Neil Finn and Nick Seymour and/or Mark Hart.

Neil Finn and 3 guys named Joe?  Not Crowded House for me.  Even if one of those 3 guys is named Tim Finn.

 

brownie posted:

It is almost impossible for me to conceive of a Crowded House without Paul Hester.  I think he was integral to everything I love about the band.

I can begrudgingly accept Crowded House with Neil Finn and Nick Seymour and/or Mark Hart.

Neil Finn and 3 guys named Joe?  Not Crowded House for me.  Even if one of those 3 guys is named Tim Finn.

 

This is where I'm at. I think anyone who Crowded House back in their heyday would say that Hester and the band's chemistry with each other was as much a part of the draw as the songs and performances. 

To be honest - and I'm really trying hard to pick my words carefully here so please understand that I mean no offence to anyone - I find it genuinely baffling that anyone who can honestly say that CH and their music means much to them, or has had a great emotional impact on their life, can then happily accept the co-opting of the name for a set of recordings that were made when the band didn't exist.

If the draw of the band is Neil working with that set of musicians, I really can't understand how it would be acceptable to consider a set of songs made without that set of musicians as being band recordings. They're just not.

Several people in this thread have made silly comparisons to individual songs and suggested that, if TOE wasn't a CH album then songs like Now We're Getting Somewhere shouldn't be either. That's nonsense. It's common practice - in fact, one might well be hard pressed to find many albums - that don't feature outside assistance. The fact remains that four all of their first four albums, Crowded House entered a studio, recorded a set of songs together and released them as an album. 

That didn't happen with TOE. Neil Finn entered the studio with a set of session musicians (one of whom happened to be Nick) and made a solo record. Crowded House didn't exist when those recordings were made. They weren't even on hiatus.

But what of Weather With You, I hear some shout. I agree that there are similarities between the TOE situation and that of WWY. However, there are important (to me) differences: WWY was recorded by the Finn Brothers at a time when CH still existed. They'd recorded Woodface but hadn't released it. The decision to co-opt that recording was taken by the band (albeit most like by Neil, but he was still IN the band and they were actively in existence working on the album). TOE wasn't recorded while the band were in existence and wasn't co-opted by them. 

There's also the matter of scale. Of course, it would be impossible for me to set some kind of arbitrary rule over how many songs its okay to co-opt but there's clearly a difference between one or two songs and a whole album.

Now, much of this, I suspect, comes down to one's personal definition of what constitutes a band. There are a great many two-man bands in the world but Crowded House was never one of them. Going back to Brownie's point, I can grudgingly accept CH without Hessie. But CH is/was a band of more than two members and that band featured, at it's demise, Neil, Nick and Mark. Unless Neil had formally reformed CH, invited Mark and he'd declined to return, CH still needs to feature those three people in order to be CH. In my world.

Presumably, those who accept TOE as a band album are happy that anything featuring just Neil and Nick together is also CH. Personally I can't. It would imply I saw the band reform (for encores only) several times before TOE: every time Neil or the Finn Bros played Dublin! And several times after as well...

But I doubt anyone would seriously consider Nick guesting on a few performances as being a reformation. And yet that's exactly what happened - but on a grander scale - in the studio during the making of TOE.

So, rightly or wrongly, that's why I have a problem with accepting TOE as a band album.

One final question (and then I'm out of this thread): how do folks consider the track Alone from Out of Silence? It was written and performed by Neil and Tim so surely it must be a Finn Bros track, right? Or is it still a Neil solo song that Tim just happens to be on? In which case, what's the difference? I'd argue its that old thing Intent again. The song wasn't recorded with the intention of forming part of a Finn Bros record, which is why it isn't considered to be by them. At the risk of labouring the point, that's part of the reason why I can't accept TOE as a band album: it wasn't recorded by them with the intention of being their new album.

Now, I've beaten this horse to death, so I'll apologise to the OP for hijacking the thread.

In order to get it back on track, I'll add that I'm a big fan of TOE regardless of who I consider it to have been made by. It features some of Neil's best post TWT songwriting and some of the best performances/production of his solo career. I loved the production of TWT but found it very uneven in terms of song quality. One Nil/All had some terrific songs but was seriously compromised by some really poor production choices. Everyone is Here was an excellent album, well played and produced, and TOE followed in that vein. I don't like every song on the album - I could happily lose three or four tracks - and I regret the omission of Lost Island which is, perhaps, his most beautiful tune since Four Seasons.

But overall I think TOE is a terrific record. My difficulty with answering the OP's question directly is that, as you can see from the material I've chosen to compare it with, I have a hard time assessing it against the first four CH albums. But I guess you'd worked that out already

It’s hard to accept “ I honestly mean no offence “ when it’s followed by comments like “ people make silly comparisons ..”

just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t make them silly . 

Paul was a massive part of the band , but I remember when Peter took over , I invested just as heavily in the band then . I loved how his drumming made the band sound , just as I loved the way Paul played . 

Neil and Nick were 2 thirds of the original line up . It’s not perfect , but it’s Crowded House if they want it to be and works for me . I wish they had gotten Mark in at the ground floor but they didn’t . 

Im afraid I don’t understand your thoughts on what makes a Crowded House album at all . I know what does for me , and I can live with that just fine .

Well, Stuart, "silly" may be a criticism but if you take offence at criticism then I can't help you nor be held responsible for any offence you may take. I stand by the comment because I believe your examples were silly in the context of the discussion: they were exaggerations aimed at making a point. As such, they didn't address the point at hand and merely attempted to provide distraction from addressing it. I'm pleased you're comfortable with a version of CH that only features two band members. I remain surprised but then, life is full of 'em. 

I believe “ silly “ is derogatory rather than constructive . Calling something silly because you don’t agree with it is poor in my opinion . There were no exaggerations from me , just plain facts . I can’t help it if you can’t accept them .Here was me thinking you “ were done with this thread ... 

But the facts weren't relevant to the discussion, Stuart. But okay, look. I am done with this thread but I stayed to see what response I received out of respect for you and others whose comments I've picked up on. If nothing else, it gives me an opportunity to offer you an apology. So if you're offended by the use of the word silly, I'm sorry. Pick another word: how about "inappropriate" or "unhelpful" or "unconstructive"? 

Now, back to your regular scheduled programming. 

Dear Pinapple Head, here is one more who really loves new CH with Matt

While TOE was very good album by me, Intriguer was excellent album, fresh and innovative (in Neils case, not music in generall), and all TOE/Intriguer era was so good to me, that I have only wonderfull memories from it - me and wife Helena was in Wien 2007. first time to see CH (and Neil) live, and year after that in Zurich in summer of 2008...wonderfull memories, band in excellent form, great personality of new drummer Matt and drumming skills...Than in 2010. expectation of new album Intriguer...wonderfull moments... listening for a first time ,my reactions, emotions on it, really bunch of critic and media reactions (comparing to later non CH albums), expectations which song should be next single... lot of things, intrigues, reactions, themes was going on here also..

Anything after that from Neil didnt move me that much as those TOE/Intriguer era...to be complete honest, I am not from those who will explore and listening music or band for which I am not interested at all, just because my favorit musician playing some part in it... ofcourse I am talking about this Flatwood Mac era.. to be complete honest, I am just waiting to be finally over and really hoping that result from all of these would be that Neil starts to dream about one more CH album, for one more big tour, one more CH album with some new anthem, for which he is still capable of, I am sure...with guys from CH!

Listened to Intriguer this morning while working. First time in a while. Some of it sounded forced or tired, but there were a few good "feels" still. While it's not as complete a work as TOE, it's still called "Crowded House", so it deserves to be in the mix.

I have a hard time listening to TOE start to finish, there's always an interruption or I'll stop along the way and end up not finishing it. A lot of gems though, that's for sure.

I presume most folk here try to listen to Some Finn music every day. Heh. I chuckle remembering how much I used to always listen to the Beatles. I found an original Let it Be LP and spin that every now and then because it's not as familiar (Dig it). For the most part, I've lost interest in the fab four. But it was listening to them that prompted a vendor to lend me CH material to investigate, so I'll always be grateful for that.

CH's return was like Santa Claus. You know inside it's not really what you've always heard, but you play along because of the gifts freely bestowed. 

There are lots of threads on this forum from 2010 when it was released.  I seem to recall that most people liked it at the time, but it was not unanimous among forum members nor among critics.  I liked it well enough when it was released, but it faded very rapidly for me, particularly because of earlier versions of Twice If You’re Lucky and Either Side of the World that I had grown to love.  I never returned to it over the years.  I loved the bonus material that was released years later, but never returned to the original.

Intriguer is easily the most divisive CH album. I thought it was okay but a little disappointing back then; it’s faded away completely by now.  It’s not the quality of the songs necessarily. I don’t think the producer delivered, frankly. Everything seems not quite there yet, and I hate the way it was recorded and mixed.

Freofan posted:

As someone who discovered the band only in late 2017, I would be thrilled if they reunited again in any form. I have never seen them live. Seeing Neil live in September for the first time in NZ. If they reunite, no matter where the concert is, I'm buying a ticket immediately!

PS I love Time on Earth. I have not explored Intriguer enough.

Love that attitude, some things you have to see no matter the cost and effort. I had never seen CH live (hadn't really been old enough) until 2016, I flew to Sydney for the Opera House shows. There were countless reasons to go, but I was definitely pushed along by the possibility that CH may never play again. It was so incredibly worthwhile, one of the best times of my life.

Of course, I hope they do return and you get to experience it. They still sounded so amazingly tight, it only added to the frustration that they aren't making new music or touring. I respect Neil and co's creative decisions, but from a selfish perspective I think the peak of all the band members' careers has been with CH and that's where they should be focusing their energy, because the clock is ticking.

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